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Turkish Folk Dances


Turkish culture, as Turks call Anatolian culture, is the legacy of a thousand years of cultural accumulation of different peoples. Turkish #folk #dances are the result of the intertwining of various cultures and traditions for thousands of years. Turkey is the richest country in the world in terms of folk dance diversity. The number of folk dances in Turkey is so high that they have not been collected and systematized until today. There are approximately 4000 types of folk dance in Turkey. #Turkish #folk #dance is an important element of Turkish folklore. All folk dances have some kind of history and theme. There are different folk dances, costumes and music in almost all regions, cities and villages.

Folk dances are an art that reflects life in a figurative and artistic way. In dance, through movement, facial expressions and music, a person's thoughts, feelings, experiences are conveyed, the unique characters inherent in this society are reflected. Dance is filled with great wealth for successful artistic and moral education. And if for the viewer this is largely just an aesthetic pleasure, then for the actor it is a means of external and internal harmony of personality. Collective folk dances play a special role. The joint performance of the dance contributes to the unity of people, the formation of an atmosphere of friendship and understanding, which positively affects the development of the individual and society as a whole.

Turkish folk dances are an important element of Turkish folklore. This is a separate branch of art and a separate science that studies local dances and local dance costumes from different regions of Turkey. Although the existence of a separate dance in almost every village is prevented, work in this area continues. Above all, Turkey's rich cultural heritage lies in the diversity of dance techniques, costumes and music. The history of Anatolia, the cradle of civilizations, is the history of many nations.

There are around 4 thousand folk dances in total in Turkey. This figure clearly shows the role of dance in people's lives. Folk dances are generally performed at weddings, festivals, meetings, sending off sons to the military, religious and national holidays. Some dances describe certain everyday situations, while others tell entire stories, natural phenomena or the economy of the area.

Types of folk dances and their geographical distribution

Distribution geography can be very different from each other depending on the region of the country. Folk dances in various regions of Turkey show great differences in terms of choreography, rhythm, dress and melodies. For example, traditional dance zeybek is dominant in Aegean Region and Western Anatolia, halay is dominant in Central and Southern Anatolia, the Black Sea region prefers horon region, and halay dance is preferred in Eastern Anatolia, and it is the most popular dance of folk dance. Thrace is hora. Of course, this does not mean that each region does only “its own” dances: For example, we can observe the “hora” dance in some places in western Turkey, such as Çanakkale. If we analyze a little more:

Zeybek (zeybek): In the old days, the word "zeybek" (in Central Anatolia - "seimen") meant "warrior"; then they began to look for the warriors of the people's militia in the days of war. Then this word remained only in folklore. It is a "male" dance, although sometimes women can participate in it. Zeybek can be both a couple and a group. The dance starts with slow movements, then accelerates sharply with the music. The main figure of the dance is the rotation of one leg with the simultaneous lunge of the second leg bent at the knee: this movement symbolizes heroic strength. In some versions of the dance, dancers swing daggers or short swords. Musical accompaniment: drum (drum) and zurna (a type of flute), in some regions - baglama and saz (string instruments). Distribution regions: Aydın, İzmir, Muğla, Denizli, Bilecik, Eskişehir, Kütahya, Çanakkale.

Halay (halay): The history of this dance starts from the time of the Assyrian kingdom. The word halai means duration, mutual aid, joint action (Demirsipahi, 1975: 229-230). Currently, it is a dance similar to a round dance. Such dances are conditionally divided into steppe halai, Çukurova (according to the name of the region where it is most popular), halai and eastern halai. The figures and movements are very diverse and there can be many variations in different regions, but basically during the dance the dancers (men and/or women) form a circle or row. The leaders hold each other by the fingers or shoulders, sometimes under the arms, and the trailing ones hold in their hands a large multi-colored scarf called a “handkerchief”. The musical accompaniment is very rhythmic, it becomes faster and faster. Instruments: drum, zurna, baglama, various types of pipes. Distribution regions: Bitlis, Bingol, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Malatya, Kahramanmar, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Erzincan, Sivas, Mardin, Mus, Yozgat, Corum, Adana, Ankara, Siirt, Hatay, Tokat, Sanliurfa.

Horon: A typical dance from the Black Sea region. Its name comes from the Greek word Horod, which translates simply as "dance". This is a group dance. Both men and women dance. Participants make a circle or half circles and dances, twists and turns, also crouches, squats and stands. Accompanied by music - very fast. Instruments: Mainly drum and zurna; in some regions, the tulumba, mei, jura and kemençe (string instrument). Distribution regions: Trabzon, Samsun, Artvin, Ordu, Rize.

Bar (bar): A popular dance in Eastern Anatolia. The dance bar is male and female. Men usually dance in groups of 16 and women in groups of 12. Participants hold each other's hands as in halay and dance in line. A "closed" version of the bar (dancers

almost converge) and an "open" version (at a distance). The women's bar dances softer and can be accompanied by songs, while the men's bar is harder and more rhythmic. Music accompaniment: drum, zurna, kemençe. Distribution regions: Erzurum, Kars, Aary, Ardahan, Gümüşkhane, Bayburt, Erzincan.

Hora (hora): The general name of the dances common in the Thrace region and some parts of Western Anatolia. This dance is characterized by a very fast tempo and rhythm. Men or women line up, clasping their hands and dancing, crouching and throwing their legs forward. Musical accompaniment: drum, zurna. Distribution regions: Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ, Çanakkale.

Greeting: The name of this type of dance can be briefly translated as "reciprocal salutation dance". This is a double dance, the figures of which may vary by region. It starts slow and the tempo gradually increases. Men and women move separately in two rows, now facing each other, then crossing each other, kneeling and clapping their hands. Distribution regions: Edirne, Kirklareli, Tekirdag, Izmit, Adapazari, Canakkale, Bursa, Bilecik

Spoon: Spoon games are popular in many parts of Turkey - from the West to the south of Anatolia. They dance either in two rows facing each other or in a circle. Some of the participants can also sit in a semicircle. He dances and sits at the same time, but they keep the rhythm with wooden spoons, one in each hand. Musical accompaniment: drums, baglama, kemençe and vocals (songs). Distribution regions: Eskişehir, Afyon, Kütahya, Bilecik, Kırşehir, Konya, Mersin, Antalya, Bolu, Bursa.

Bengi game: means "endless dance". Movements become sharper. Usually accompanied by songs or verses Distribution regions: Balikesir, Manisa, Bursa, Çanakkale, as well as the Marmara Sea region.

Folk dance themes

In various regions of Turkey, dances based on imitating the movements of animals and birds are common - “Ducks” (Bolu), “Pigeons” (Erzurum), which also depict various animal situations. - “Rooster Dances” (Yozgat), Bear Dances (Bitlis), Wolf and Lamb (Diyarbakır) etc. There are also dances specific to representatives of some professions: Butchers (Edirne), Butter (Izmir), Foresters (to Kastamon) . In many Anatolian dances, small scenes from daily life are played, describing the relationships between people, life and natural events: Halay "İş" (Sivas), "Hançer" bar (Erzurum), "Duru" (Kütahya), "It is raining" (Nevşehir), "Mist in the Mountains" (Giresun) and many more.

Among the dances of a similar theme, the Black Sea dance "Kolbastı" stands out. This dance is quite modern - it originated in Trabzon in the 30s. Literally translated - kol basti - "hit on the shoulder", that is, "caught (caught)". It is said that this name was invented by Trabzon port hooligans who were caught by the police. In his songs (how could the folklore classic of Turkish thieves have emerged near the Black Sea?) the following words were repeated: 'They came, they raided, they shot..' Odessa for us, Trabzon for Turks!.. The dance that the people love so much became popular in a short time not only in Trabzon, but also all over Turkey and sometimes in other countries.

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